Google-backed payment startup Corduro aims for enterprise


When Corduro launched last year, it looked like another mobile payment start-up targeting Square. But after a quiet year, the Google-backed company is showing that it’s got bigger ambitions as it pursues enterprise customers looking for a combination of Square and online processor Stripe.

Rather than starting with mom and pop stores, Southlake, TX-based Corduro is pushing its sales teams to win over big organizations that want to modernize their payment systems. So far this year, it’s signed up a big hospital and a university, both unnamed at this point, giving it annualized transaction volume of more $1.4 billion. Corduro, whose investors include Google Ventures, WTI, Founders Collective and Heartland Capital, now has about 1,500 clients. And it’s preparing to go big with a marketing campaign to highlight its payment solution.

I talked with Robert Ziegler, the CEO of Corduro about how the company is looking to set itself apart in the market. He said Corduro provides an appealing product for big corporations that need a scalable payment solution that can work with existing infrastructure. Big enterprise clients, just like retailers and small businesses, are looking to go mobile and incorporate a wide array of payment options, he said.

Corduro, as I wrote last year, has built a sophisticated cloud platform that supports mobile payments similar to Square and allows it act as payment processor, gateway and CRM provider. That means Corduro can help facilitate mobile, online and in-person payments and offer clients a way to manage and engage their members. That puts Corduro competition not just with Square but online processors Stripe and Braintree.

Ziegler said Corduro makes it easy for IT managers to work with existing back-office systems and provides a high level of security such as access logging requirements. The system also scales up in ways that competitors can’t, said Ziegler, and provides full PCI and HIPAA compliance. And it can route a payment through a customer’s choice of acquirers around the world.

Customers like a hospital can offer patients more ways to pay their co-payment, such as paying through their mobile phone or in person with a credit card swipe reader. A university alumni association can take payments and donations online and in-person at events. And an organization can also reward customers for bringing in new members or helping generate more sales. Ziegler said all of these services are also available to smaller merchants, who can take advantage of Corduro’s features. But the bigger opportunity is in first going after corporate clients.

“Major corporations that have to accept payments in verticals like universities and hospitals, they have rigorous compliance and enterprise issues,” said Ziegler. “It’s not as easy as letting people sign up online. There’s a lot of qualifications and capabilities to be delivered for participants.”

Corduro may be on to something. While a lot of companies fight over smaller retailers, there’s still some big enterprise clients that can use a next-generation payment system. If it can sign up some large customers, it can put up big numbers in a hurry.

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